FINAL HOOPS POLLS; CHECKING IN ON BLESSED TRINITY'S DOMINANT BASEBALL TEAM
Today, we release our final basketball Top 10s in each classification for girls and boys. And Score Atlanta's Graham David checked in with head coach Andy Harlin and his Blessed Trinity baseball team, which is No. 1 in Class AAAA.
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In This Issue
FINAL HOOPS RANKINGS; BT BASEBALL UPDATE
BOYS BASKETBALL FINAL RANKINGS
Meadowcreek's 7A upset headlines final poll
Meadowcreek wins its first-ever championship in surprising fashion over No. 2 Norcross in Class AAAAAAA boys, and two teams that lost to Norcross in the playoffs - McEachern and Newton - follow at No. 3 and No. 4. Grayson defeated Pebblebrook by seven points at Pebblebrook in the quarterfinals,
||Meadowcreek's 7A championship team.
and the teams end up at No. 5 (Grayson) and No. 6. Peachtree Ridge, Mountain View, Wheeler and Etowah round out the Top 10.
Langston Hughes pulled off its second-straight win over Gainesville in the playoffs, this time beating the Red Elephants in the final for its second-straight title. Jonesboro and Brunswick come it at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. North Atlanta had a strong region tournament and won two games in the playoffs to zoom up to No. 6. Douglas County, Tri-Cities, Stephenson and Cambridge complete the Class AAAAAA rankings.
First-time state champion Warner Robins finishes No. 1 after defeating Miller Grove 67-64 in the Class AAAAA finals. Buford, which was ranked No. 1 in the Feb. 5 poll, comes in at No. 3 after getting edged by No. 2 Miller Grove 75-70 in the second round. Semifinalists Clarke Central and Hiram round out the top five.
Upson-Lee completed its second-straight season at No. 1 and its first wire-to-wire year as Class AAAA's top team. The Knights stamped their 63rd-straight victory on Saturday with an impressive 70-54 win over No. 2 St. Pius. Sandy Creek's run to the finals, and the Patriots' 52-51 near takedown of Upson-Lee in the semis, cements their place in the top three and Baldwin's own impressive tournament run (which ended in a 66-61 loss to St. Pius in the semis) puts the Braves at No. 4. Americus-Sumter edges Region 1 rival Carver-Columbus for No. 5 and Salem, which fell 52-44 to Upson-Lee in the second round, finishes No. 7.
Class AAA Greater Atlanta Christian outlasted No. 2 Jenkins to win its eighth boys state title in Macon after defeating Savannah's Jenkins 67-53. Jenkins is second with Morgan County, which had been to the final game four seasons in a row, finishing third.
Thomasville's Reggie Perry, a Mississippi State commit, forced the GHSA to realign the rims following the dunk-a-thon he put on a smaller Vidalia team to earn the Class AA state title in Macon. Vidalia finishes second with Glenn Hills, Laney and Dublin rounding out the top five.
After almost being knocked out of the semifinals, Wilkinson County claimed its third Class A-Public title in a row with a 71-68 victory over Montgomery County. Central-Talbotton jumped to the No. 3 spot after soundly defeating a strong Macon County in the quarterfinals but ended its season after a last-second loss to the eventual champs. Woodville-Tompkins ended the regular season ranked at the No. 3 spot but failed to advance past the quarterfinals after losing to Calhoun County, knocking them out of the top three.
Aquinas upset St. Francis 65-60 to claim the school's first-ever state title, placing them at the top of Class A-Private. Eagle's Landing Christian narrowly lost to the future champs and remains at the No. 3 spot. Stratford Academy dropped five spots from the Feb. 5 rankings after being eliminated by Greenforest 58-56 in the second round. Holy Innocents' jumped from No. 8 to No. 4 after an impressive postseason, including a strong victory over Christian Heritage.
7. Peachtree Ridge
8. Mountain View
1. Langston Hughes
6. North Atlanta
7. Douglas County
1. Warner Robins
2. Miller Grove
4. Clarke Central
7. Eagle's Landing
10. Starr's Mill
2. St. Pius
3. Sandy Creek
9. Burke County
1. Greater Atlanta Christian
3. Morgan County
5. Cedar Grove
8. Pace Academy
9. Hart County
3. Glenn Hills
8. Banks County
9. South Atlanta
10. Washington County
1. Wilkinson County
2. Montgomery County
4. Calhoun County
5. Lanier County
8. Macon County
10. Terrell County
2. St. Francis
4. Holy Innocents'
5. North Cobb Christian
6. Christian Heritage
9. Stratford Academy
10. Lakeview Academy
GIRLS BASKETBALL FINAL RANKINGS
Westlake finishes as 7A wire-to-wire No. 1
There was a logjam of teams 3-7 in Class AAAAAAA, which saw Westlake go wire-to-wire for its first girls championship. Newton finishes No. 2 after a final that was close
until the final minute or s
o. Collins Hill falls from No. 2 in
||Westlake's girls won their first state title.
our Feb. 5 rankings to No. 5 after a 25-point loss to Westlake, and North Forsyth moves up to No. 4 after an eight-point loss to Westlake in the semis. Norcross and Cherokee come in at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.
Lovejoy handled Harrison for the title with a strong fourth quarter, and Winder-Barrow, a strong No. 2 after the regular season, is No. 3 in Class AAAAAA after an overtime loss to Lovejoy in the quarterfinals. Semifinalists Northview and Douglas County are No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
Buford defeated No. 2 Flowery Branch 60-49 to take the Class AAAAA title and finish the year at the top of the poll. Villa Rica and Harris County finish No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, following their runs to the Final Four and Eagle's Landing rounds out the top five.
Spalding was No. 3 in the final regular-season poll but finishes No. 1 after taking down Henry County 58-46 for the first state title in Jags' history. No. 1 from Feb. 5 Carver-Columbus comes in at No. 3 after falling 58-51 to Spalding in the semifinals and Americus-Sumter (another Region 1-AAAA squad) takes No. 4 after making a run to this year's Final Four. Madison County fell 55-53 to Spalding in the semifinals and rounds out the top five.
Johnson-Savannah finally earned its first-ever girls basketball title after moving past Greater Atlanta Christian 62-50 in Macon for the Class AAA crown. The Lady Spartans finished second with Franklin County and Tattnall County third and fourth, respectively.
Laney defeated Josey for the fifth time on the year (63-40) and earned a Class AA state championship for its efforts. It marked the third girls state basketball championship for Laney. Josey finishes second and Fitzgerald, Model and Banks County round out the top five.
Greenville followed through on a great season by claiming the Class A-Public title after a 73-52 victory over Marion County, giving the Patriots their first state title in school history. Second-ranked Telfair was eliminated in the semifinals after a 73-62 loss to the future champs. Marion County saw the biggest change in rank, jumping from eighth to the No. 3 spot after advancing all the way to the finals.
In the Feb. 5 poll, defending champ Wesleyan found itself at the No. 3 spot in Class A-Private. In a matchup between first-ranked Holy Innocents', the Wolves fought back after trailing in the first quarter to win 61-44 and take home the school's 13th state title. Stratford Academy jumps into the top five after reaching the semifinals. Our Lady of Mercy found themselves on the bad end of a 73-39 loss against No. 8 Paideia in the second round, knocking them out of the top five.
4. North Forsyth
5. Collins Hill
9. South Gwinnett
10. North Cobb
5. Douglas County
2. Flowery Branch
3. Villa Rica
4. Harris County
5. Eagle's Landing
7. Arabia Mountain
9. Ware County
10. Fayette County
2. Henry County
5. Madison County
9. Northwest Whitfield
2. Greater Atlanta Christian
3. Franklin County
4. Tattnall County
7. Haralson County
9. Peach County
10. East Hall
5. Banks County
6. Dodge County
7. Rabun County
8. Putnam County
2. Telfair County
3. Marion County
4. Wheeler County
5. Terrell County
7. Wilcox County
9. Georgia Military
10. Macon County
2. Holy Innocents'
3. St. Francis
4. Stratford Academy
5. Calvary Day
6. Prince Avenue
7. Christian Heritage
9. Athens Academy
10. Our Lady of Mercy
Blessed Trinity baseball rolling in Class 4A
By Graham David
Spring is here, and Blessed Trinity is back in its usual form. At the start of the 2016 season the Titans were coming off back-to-back state titles in Class AAA. The next two seasons saw different results as the team managed to advance to the finals but fell short both times, first to Westminster and then to Marist after their shift to Class AAAA. Now several weeks into the 2018 season, the Titans are No. 1 and look primed for another title run.
The team has made major adjustments to account for the loss of several key seniors from last season. Three pitchers from the starting rotation graduated and moved on to college ball: Peyton Glavine (Auburn), Patrick McNamara (Presbyterian) and Cole McNamee (Wake Forest). Taking their place on the mound is no easy challenge, but senior Clark Dearman has taken full advantage of his time on the field. The senior left-handed pitcher has earned
four of the team's 12 wins this season, with a current ERA of 0.86 and 13 strikeouts so far. Dearman will be joining McNamara at Presbyterian next season.
||Photo courtesy of GeorgiaDugoutPreview.com
Another position in need of filling was the role of shortstop. Last year's senior David Dunn, who ended the season with a stellar batting average of .401 along with 59 hits, went on to play at Northwestern. This season, C.J. Abrams shifted over from second base to take command of the infield.
Despite having to make up for the loss of multiple talented graduates, head coach Andy Harlin (pictured, on left) had no fear trusting his players to step up and take on the challenge.
"They're MMA fighters," Harlin said. "They take on every challenge. It's not always going to be sunshine and lollipops."
Even with a slightly altered lineup, the Titans' production remains the same. Their 12-1 record includes solid wins against Walton, Cartersville, Parkview, last year's Class 7A state champs Etowah, and last year's Class 5A state champs Loganville. This past weekend, the Titans defeated Providence (Fla.) 11-8 in the prestigious Perfect Game High School Showdown in Emerson, Ga., after falling to that team last year in the finals of the event.
Blessed Trinity will look to keep up its domination on the diamond as the Titans approach the middle of the season.
"We're a day-to-day team," Harlin said. "Our goal is to have a good practice today. When that's done, we'll move on to tomorrow. It's a day-to-day thing, one thing at a time. You have to take things in small doses."
Next, the Titans will take on West Forsyth this Thursday at home.
© Score Publishing, LLC 2017